I’ve heard some people call pain “the great teacher,” and in a way I can see what they mean. Pain can be an important signal to pay attention to your body and give it the support it needs. And living with pain can certainly force a person to develop their inner strength in various ways, since each day presents them with physical challenges to overcome. But too often pain is the teacher that just won’t shut up, long after you’ve gotten the message. And pain affects every aspect of a person’s life, sapping their energy, damaging their relationships and limiting their ability to work, exercise, and enjoy their favorite activities.
As more and more information comes out about the risks of chronic painkiller use, many people are seeking out alternative ways of managing pain. Acupuncture can be a very helpful tool for pain management. Working Class Acupuncture in Portland, Oregon (the clinic that started the Community Acupuncture movement) has a great article about using acupuncture to treat acute and chronic pain- check it out here.
I’ve treated thousands of people for all kinds of pain, and in my experience it almost always helps if people stick with their treatment plan. It doesn’t always eliminate pain completely (though often it does), but in most cases people see at least a reduction in pain along with improvements in energy, sleep, mood, and quality of life. The most important thing to know about using acupuncture to manage pain is that it is a process- I often tell patients that coming in for one acupuncture treatment is a bit like taking one vitamin pill or doing one workout- it’s probably good for you, but you won’t notice any big results unless you stick with it. The goal is Progress, not Perfection.